One kg sugar for BPL families at Rs 13.5: Dinesh Gundu Rao

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Bangalore, Sept 12, 2013: Sugar will be procured from government and co-operative factories for distribution among the below poverty line (BPL) families, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao said here on Thursday.

Following a Cabinet sub-committee meeting headed by Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra, Rao said the government was looking at a cost of Rs 50 crore or more to provide the BPL families with one kg of sugar every month.

Rao said the government would be buying sugar from two government factories and 15 co-operative units at Rs 30.75 per kg. Each BPL card holder is likely to get one kg sugar a month at Rs 13.5 per kg.

Currently, the Centre gives a subsidy of Rs 18.50 per kilo to even out the costs to the State exchequer. “If we are to look at it in absolute terms, we are presently receiving a subsidy of Rs 20 crore towards purchasing sugar and supplying it to BPL families.
However, with the procurement likely to go up in the event of an increase in the number of BPL card holders, the cost will touch Rs 40 crore to Rs 50 crore,” Rao said.

The demand for sugar has been put at 1.20 lakh tonnes a year. The Centre has been providing subsidy for 1.08 lakh tonnes. “The total cost for procuring sugar is Rs 32.25 per kg, including the cost of transportation from the industries to the PDS shops,” he said.

While the State will have no problem in balancing the costs now, the de-regularisation of sugar by the Centre from 2015 will shift the entire burden of purchasing the produce to the State government.

The decision will be placed before the Cabinet for its approval before re-initiating the sugar scheme.

According to officials, the annual production of sugar in the State is 33 lakh tonnes, and 1.2 lakh tonnes are required for distribution to BPL families.

Meanwhile, the recently constituted Karnataka Sugarcane Control Board has fixed the price of the produce at Rs 2,400 per tonne, which would be applicable to all sugar factories, Sugar Minister Prakash Hukkeri said.

The board, which has representatives of the government, farmers and factory owners among others, will advise on fixing the price for sugar cane.

The government has decided to revive the Pandavapura, Brahmavar and Mysore sugar factories. The grants required for their revival would be worked out and sent to the finance department shortly.

Travellers’ house

The State government has decided to construct a 74-room travellers’ house to accommodate pilgrims from the State visiting Pandharpur in Maharashtra, Minister Hukkeri, who also holds the Muzrai portfolio, said.

The project is likely to cost Rs seven crore.

He defended the State government’s decision to scrap the management committees of some ‘A’ grade temples.

On the spate of robberies in temples across Karnataka, Hukkeri said it was for the temple managements to provide adequate security.

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